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admin | Category: Container House | 18.09.2015
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Although it would be much heavier than a normal RV it would be solid, quiet inside, and allow for some true custom features while still being well within the weight limits of an HDT.
The containers are built in a way that the perimeter frame work is the supporting structure. I'm still trying to determine how to best attach exterior and interior wall and roof covering.
I once worked for a company that used shipping containers for storage, it was a real pain to cut doors into the sides of them and usually weakened them to the point were we had to empty them to move them. I've been iterating over the design of something like this based on use of a Fontaine Infinity TSX drop-deck flatbed as the base. The TSX is manufactured for hauling conex containers, and has the conex twist-locks fabricated in such that two 20-foot or a single 40-foot container lands correctly on the attachment points.
This lead to thinking about either custom-framing (aluminum square tubing) my own ISO-based frame duplicating the dimensions of the ISO Conex container frame, or using only the steel frame from commercially available containers. I would be inclined to cut down two containers to a height that would allow the container top to match the fifth-wheel deck height.

The appeal of using this approach is multiple - I like the idea of using a commercially available platform that can be repurposed (i.e resold or used as a flatbed hauler), it will already have a VIN and necessary certification, the cost is reasonable ($15K or so for a used trailer), and the modularity of the Conex. I still have considerable work to do before I call the design complete, but the more I've worked it, the more satisfied I am that it is viable.
Glad to see someone else shares my enthusiasm for containers :-) As you mentioned they have been used for years as housing, offices, etc after being heavily customized using the base container as the platform. My ultimate goal is to use this as a semi-portable house, moving it between three sites, one in Texas, on in New Mexico, and a third in Wyoming. Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership. I talking about the 20' and 40' intermodal containers that are used to ship cargo around the world.
You would still have plenty of headroom in the container since most are over 8' tall inside. The thick metal walls add even more strength and rigidity but can be modified (openings cut) without worrying about loosing structural integrity (I researched these several years back for a possible business of converting them for mobile offices, sleeping quarters, etc). Exterior wall: you start with the steel panels that have alternating bends, cover this with a combination of spray on and rigid insulation held in place with sikaflex. Its going to be pulled with an HDT, and the reason I like the concept of this build is it's an indestructible, well insulated RV that can be lived in year round with plenty of head room and it will last forever (as compared to the commercial built units).
I have considered going the drop flatbed route as well and building a frame as you mentioned. Are you doing this to have them as separate rooms that you could pull off if needed and replaced with a different module?

These would make an excellent platform for a custom trailer build since they are already watertight and almost indestructable (as compared to a regular trailer). I originally thought I would need to build a custom frame but after seeing the trailer chassis I realized they can be modified to meet my needs and they already have a VIN and all the safety gear (brakes, etc).
I think in any event I'll need to build custom because this will be for full time living and I want to customize it to my needs and durability. Compared to the work and cost of converting a shipping container the new construction would be much nicer. I would build several slide outs into mine and welding a frame around the cutout opening would retain the structural stability.
I have thought of welding angle iron vertically to the side walls spaced 12-16" apart to have a solid surface to sikaflex the wall panels to.
I once built a race car trailer with steel sheeting, it gets heavy, but it takes a beating.
This won't happen anytime soon so I have lots of time to research and find the right platform. Of course an HDT would be needed whatever route you took, but this is what I plan on buying anyways.

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